We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“Never in human history has the general health of most ordinary people been better than it is now. But paradoxically, there can scarcely ever have been a time when health care has been a more difficult political problem for the governments of advanced countries than it is now. These two apparently contradictory facts are not unconnected. It is precisely because of the stupendous advances in the treatment of disease that the role of government has become so contentious. With the scope for life-prolonging medical intervention now virtually limitless – and thus spending on it being potentially limitless as well – there are moral and practical questions about its availability and distribution which every democratic society has to address.”

Janet Daley.

As she explains, the lessons that ought to come out of the UK’s nationalised, socialist model of healthcare ought to give pause anywhere to reformers trying to impose a similar system. Which naturally leads her to look at the disaster of the Affordable Care Act. (US economics blogger and long-distance athlete Charles Steele has smart observations on this.) And the Marginal Revolution blog has an interesting perspective on the IT disaster of the ACA.

Tangentially, a rather fine novel, called Nobel Vision, was published a few years ago in which the lurch towards socialist-style healthcare was part of the plot. (The Ayn Rand influence is pretty clear on the author, it seems.)

10 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • I think the most damning indictment of the UK NHS is that for all its vaunted ‘greatest healthcare system in the world’ propaganda, no other country has copied it or even used a similar model.

    Most countries are private + charitable with the government only acting as regulator.

    The NHS is the worst of all worlds with high cost via taxation, heavy and uncontrolled costs (primarily overstaffing and overpaid management) AND shitty provision.

    If it wasn’t a state operation the managers of the various NHS scandal hospitals (North Staffs, etc.) would have been jailed.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    John Galt, exactly. I also wonder whether, in a more client-focused private system of healthcare, unlike the NHS, a monster such as the late Jimmy Savile would have been able to get away with his conduct towards patients for so long. A difficult one to answer, but it is interesting how the veneration of the NHS has not really been affected by that scandal.

  • From my own view, the Swiss based insurance model is a good compromise with those who are unable to pay being funded from taxation and multiple service providers all private.

    Anyone with existing conditions unable to get reasonably priced healthcare is allocated to one of the providers through a lottery, cost of being in the market, so no-one is excluded.

    With respect to Jimmy Savile, any charity in any country would have been foolish to have turned away contributions or fundraising support on the basis that “He’s a bit of a weirdo”.

    As for the allegations, he went to his grave without a criminal record and the vast number of allegations that have turned up after his death, some dating back 50-years have very little in the way of supporting evidence or witnesses. I’m not prepared to say that all of these claims are without foundation as I don’t know, but the sheer volume of these unprovable claims tell their own story.

    Jimmy Savile was either a lot smarter than he looked and sounded and convinced vast swathes of victims to remain silent over many decades or the vast majority of these claims are bogus and made by chancers looking for a few quid.

    The possibility that a genuine victim may be drowned by this sea of opportunistic liars is a repulsive feature of modern life, with the underclass using no-win, no-fee lawyers to make a few quid at the expense of others, primarily the estate of Jimmy Savile and the taxpayer funded BBC.

  • llamas

    @JohnGalt, who wrote:

    ‘Jimmy Savile was either a lot smarter than he looked and sounded and convinced vast swathes of victims to remain silent over many decades or the vast majority of these claims are bogus and made by chancers looking for a few quid.’

    It’s not necessarily either-or – it may well be some (a lot) of both. And yesterday’s chancers may well be today’s victims, taking advantage of today’s attitudes to these things, to be sure, but victims nonetheless. A 15-year-old girl who was taken advantage of in 1973 and did not complain at the time because she was afraid, or star-struck, or who even enthusiastically participated for whatever reason, is still a victim.

    FWIW (and I was around at the time) I do not believe that Savile was that ‘smart’, but he had a lot of street-smarts. Even back then, when I was still a teenager, I and everyone I knew was well-aware that he was very – odd – even if one couldn’t put a finger on anything specific. But he seemed to have the knack for making, and keeping, very, very powerful friends.



  • Mr Ed

    On the subject of the late Knight, Sir James Savile, my nomination for the best prank in history goes to whoever it was who sent a joke text into BBC Radio Ulster re the said Knight.

    I agree with the last paragraph, JG except that as far as I care, the more the BBC is discredited and put to cost, the better.

  • Paul Marks

    Sadly government intervention works on the principle that problems caused by previous interventions are never a reason to ROLL BACK the previous intervention – but are used as an excuse for YET MORE interventions.

    The high cost of American healthcare is cause by DECADES of government subsidies and(mandates and so on)- and Obamacare increases both the subsidies (which have the same effect in health care that government backing for student loans have on the cost of university tuition) and increases the regulations – already many MILLIONS of people are due to lose their health cover due to rising costs (directly caused by Obamacare) and Obamacare mandates – which make their existing private cover illegal.

    But this is not just an American matter.

    One can see the growth of state intervention in healthcare in France and Germany – and, yes, in Switzerland also.

  • One can see the growth of state intervention in healthcare in France and Germany – and, yes, in Switzerland also.

    Agreed – most of the interventions having been due to the “something must be done” culture of politics. Typically around circumstances where a pure private model would not insure someone (or not for the price they can afford / are prepared to pay) due to unacceptable risks or prior conditions.

    Historically, these people would have been reliant upon charitable institutions or pro-bono treatments, but under the doctrine over “fairness” the uninsurable cannot be excluded from the system.

    Thus you get government interventions where they are positively harmful and the cost of insurance rising for everyone to cover the uninsurables.

    Before everyone started being taxed to death for public health coverage, there were far more private and charitable sector opportunities. Not always ideal, obviously – but better than the crushing hand of the state.

    I don’t think the old Soviet model of healthcare is where we want to go, but that is the road that we are on, just some are nearer to it (UK) than others (Switzerland).

  • Mr Ed

    JG the UK NHS will probably soon have another feature of the Soviet system, a GULAGesque life expectancy for the inmates, er.. patients.

  • It doesn’t surprise me. If the NHS can murder thousands through the Liverpool Pathway and scandals like North Staffordshire without the medical establishment doing anything more than a little light tutting and shaking of the BMA’s head like some nodding dog why should anyone be surprised.

    Nothing will change until doctors AND more especially NHS managers are imprisoned for their fatal mistakes. I’m sick and tired of being told that failures were systematic and “lessons will be learned”.

    Heads will roll and the guilty will be punished is the way forward, but it will never happen under the current state monopoly of the NHS.

    The luvvy lefties would have us believe that the NHS is the crowning glory of British achievement since WW2, but in fact it is the elephant in the room that along with entitlement culture of welfare has brought the UK to its knees.

    Fortunately national bankruptcy happens very slowly then all at once, so the solution might upon is shortly.

    His Judgment Cometh and That Right Soon – Sirach 21:5

  • Paul Marks